In the Enterprise business, doing things at the right time at the right price- that is the biggest motivation, says Anees Ahmed, General Technologies, speaking of his company’s association with Lenovo. With Lenovo’s clear roadmap in terms of products and strategies, he sees good growth ahead for their channel partners as well.
Tell us something about General Technologies’ business – conception and growth through the years?
We started this company in 1995, and we have been in the business of selling servers since then. We also were in the market with data centers and servers installation from the conception. We started from Mumbai and it’s been about 21 years now. Our relationship with IBM is now 18 years, earlier we were selling IBM’s ThinkPads and ThinkCentres. We had a great relationship with IBM then, and once the PC business spun off as Lenovo, it continued. All these years we have had a relationship with IBM and of course, Lenovo also. Earlier we had been selling their entre data centres, and now we sell IBM products as well as Lenovo.
Our growth has been pretty steady, but we are looking at a much faster rate now. In 1995 we were a Rs. 1 crore company and today we are at Rs. 75 crores. As a company we have always worked very closely with our customers. So much so that over the years only the solutions have changed, the customers have been the same.
Since when have you been associated with Lenovo?
We have been working with Lenovo since it was launched. It started from day one. Our work with Lenovo started when the PC division of IBM was spun off as Lenovo. We were part of the inauguration function in Bombay, and that’s the time our partnership with Lenovo started. Till 2014 we were selling Lenovo’s desktops, ThinkPads and ThinkCenters and since 2014, General Technologies has been the business of selling servers as well.
In 2005, we were the first Lenovo exclusive showroom in India. Earlier we had IBM Think World, and after the acquisition it became Lenovo exclusive store. We sold ThinkPads till 2009. In 2009 we took a break, but came back to the market on 2014, and after the acquisition of servers from IBM to Lenovo, we started selling again.
Which new product from Lenovo are you selling now and how is the market taking it? What is your role in promoting it?
We are selling servers, ThinkPad, and networking products. Now they have introduced hyper convergence- so as Lenovo’s partners, we are also tuning our business to selling the Nutanix range. I seriously think the future is hyper convergence, so we are really looking forward to the higher acceptance of Nutanix.
Servers will be selling well, they are doing extremely well. ThinkPad is also selling well, but servers and storage is also going to be our focus for business growth.
How do you see the growth of Nutanix in the Indian market?
Lenovo has recently been very strong in servers. But Nutanix has joined the business in last couple of months. Cisco etc has been in this business for long. So Lenovo will take some time to reach there. A lot of effort will be required, both ways, our side as well as Lenovo’s. We have already started winning and that is the good news.
For servers, they are selling every well, we need to reach the peak and have reached very close. We are already doing about 4.5 crores of business in Mumbai alone – only for servers. W e need to increase it to Rs. 7- 7.5 crores.
To meet this objective, we have increased the number of sales professionals to carry the product further, as well as hunters on the field for Pune. We have invested in the sales efforts, and have given a number of Proof of Concepts to customers both for servers as well as storage. We are trying to increase the mindshare of customers for Lenovo, there could be quite a few customers taken in from the current market of HP and Dell.
How has Lenovo been a beneficial partner for General Technologies?
Our growth is about 35% and it is entirely due to Lenovo, last year. We are not looking at 40% or more, we are looking for exponential growth now. This growth will be for all Lenovo products – servers, storage as well as networking etc.
How do you keep your own partners motivated?
We talk to them about technology almost every week; we try to help them with the customer. Their motivation is very simple – getting technology at a price and solution to the customer at the right time. I think that is the best motivation. They are not lost; they know where they are heading. They have complete clarity on their growth roadmap based on the product’s performance in the market. But no, we don’t have any specific strategies. In enterprise business, if you know where the brand is headed and the partners know they are doing things at the right time at the right price- that is the partners’ biggest motivation.
What are General Technologies’ focus areas for 2016, and is Lenovo a part of it?
For us, the focus area will be hyper convergence and cloud products. Yes, of course, Lenovo will be working with us. They will be joining in to educate the customer and have customer conferences, which will spread the awareness and motivation for our market.